A dark ambient excursion from one half of Deaf Center.
Svarte Greiner is an alias of Norwegian ambient/experimental artist Erik K Skodvin. Around the turn of the century Skodvin founded Miasmah Music. Starting out as a free mp3 label and the home to his music as Xhale, Miasmah began pressing up CD albums in 2006, subsequently hosting the work of ambient producers such as Rafael Anton Irisarri and Jacaszek. Back in 2004 Skodvin had solidified his recording relationship with school friend Otto Totland to form perhaps his best-known project, Deaf Center. Neon City EP, the duo's delicate debut transmission, was the first of many for John Twells and Stefan Lewandowski's excellent Type imprint—to date three Deaf Center full-lengths adorn the label's discography. Type has also been a regular home for Skodvin's pitch-black pieces as Svarte Greiner. Utilizing a combination of field recordings, instruments and electronics, Skodvin's horror-influenced experiments have yielded a total of seven LPs, the most recent of which, Penpals Forever (And Ever), was housed by recent RA label of the month Digitalis Recordings.
"Accessibility" is of course a subjective term, but as Skodvin explains below he was keen to give listeners something to hold on to while composing RA.309. While we'd certainly agree with him to some extent, his mix is easily among the most challenging—but ultimately rewarding—we featured.
What have you been up to recently?
Recently I've been spending more time in the studio and working on new music for both upcoming album(s?) and for commissioned work. There's also a new "band" project with Andrea Belfi and Aidan Baker in the works, as we've been playing and doing some recordings together recently. I only played a few shows so far this year, and we'll see what comes up later in the year, but it's also good to take my time to get things done. All this is on top of the usual running of Miasmah (my label). I have a lot of exciting new stuff coming later this year. First out is the Gareth Davis & Frances-Marie Uitti album Gramercy on 4th of May (an excerpt from this is in the mix!).
How and where was the mix recorded?
The mix was made in my studio at NK using a mixture of vinyl records, CDs and mp3s. Mixed using Ableton live.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I really put some effort into putting this tracklist together as I wanted it to have a broad musical style with everything from the stranger ends to the more accessible (at least what I find accessible). I listen to a lot of different things, though I'm a sucker for music with an atmosphere in it. I need something to drive me other than just the pure beats or clinical sounds. So basically the idea behind it was to try to push it a bit so the usual RA listeners would get something slightly out of the ordinary but with some hooks still in there.
How do you find it as an experimental producer living in a city of house and techno?
Oh I find it great. I think Berlin is becoming a better and better place for experimental music. There are just so many good concerts and events happening within the genre I can't possibly go to everything I want. Also I personally come from a background in electronic music, and even though I took a different turn, it still has a big part of my heart. I have to add that my favourite club concept in town must be Wax Treatment. Finally somewhere I can hear the dubstep/techno producers I want without having to wait until five in the morning.
How would you explain how your solo work differs from that of Deaf Center?
Well, I just think there's too much I want to try to just do one thing. Deaf Center is something that started a long time ago, when my influences were different. I think my solo work definitely has a touch of Deaf Center in there, but set in different settings. I did a record on sonic pieces in 2010 under my own name (Erik K Skodvin), which was going a bit more in the DC direction, but right now I'm experimenting more with blues influences, percussion and even some metal mixed in to my own style. We'll see how it ends up, but it's fun to see where music will take me. Playing a lot of live shows over the last years has definitely helped progress me further, as by now I like to purely improvise to see where it goes. I love it!
What are you up to next?
Finishing a new album, probably as Svarte Greiner, though I don't know as of now. Hopefully finishing an album with the trio I mentioned earlier and also playing some shows with it. Working on a big Kreng project coming later this year on Miasmah. Spinning records at our monthly evening, Rrose Sélavy, at NEU! bar on Greifswalderstrasse (every first Wednesday a month) and hopefully enjoying some outside beer gardens when the warmth finally comes. You can keep updated on all new things personally and label-wise on my site.